Hello an Introduction and a Question

Hi! I’ve just joined and hope to find and share knowledge about collecting silver. I’ve been collecting about five years and had a great deal of fun and learned a great deal of history in the mix. I do have a question right off though, I recently picked up a Japanese silver bowl at a yard sale and am having a bit of trouble figuring out the marks. It is a shallow, single footed, plain bowl. It looks similar to several presentation bowls I’ve seen on the web and in the bowl itself has the paulowinia (“go-shichi-no-kiri” the official seal of the Japanese Prime Minister) done in gold leaf. When I first saw it I expected to find the “jun jin” marks on the bottom, but instead there were five Kanji characters inside the foot instead. I am unable to post pictures as my camera won’t take pictures with as small a resolution as required here. My digital editor “DigiKam” wont reduce either. Is there a website anyone knows one can go to to see Japanese hallmarks other than the standards (jun jin or 950, ect). Perhaps a list of silversmiths? I’ve been surprised how difficult it has been to get a translation of the marks. I’ve spoken to universities, antiquities dealers, and been rebuffed by all. Any assistance I could get would be greatly appreciated.


Hi and welcome to the forum. I am not aware of any good site for researching Japanese silver and it’s certainly well out of my comfort zone. I cannot recall that we have been asked to identify any Japanese silver recently so I don’t even know if any of our members have an interest in that direction.

An update on this bowl and hoping someone can translate now. I did manage to get an anglicized version of the inscription on the bottom of the bowl, but not sure how much help it will be. The inscription reads “King Yue Unsai Gil”. I understand it is in an archaic form of Japanese and online translators are no help. I did find a couple of instances of similar bowls with the exact inscription at an oriental auction site, the only difference is the flower embossed inside the bowl.